Sunday, August 7, 2022

Splurge for a fishing guide, it is well worth it.

There is always that moment in life that you think nothing will top this - I had that moment while on a boat in the middle of the lake with Ed Franko of Big Ed's Guide Service. 

In 2014, I was asked to visit the Lake of the Ozarks area.  I am first and foremost a Mom, I think that is pretty obvious.   Like all Moms there are things that I wish I could give my kids that are not always possible, one of those things is a day they will remember forever.  That goal was accomplished with Big Ed.  

We were invited to go fishing with Big Ed as part of our trip but fishing with Big Ed turned into more than just a story - it turned into a life altering event.  

I am confident Big Ed was more use to fishing with men that had experience with fishing poles and at least some experience, but he didn’t seem to mind these young kids climbing all over his boat and acting all crazy.  

We did catch some fish, nothing prize winning, but we caught some fish!  

Every time the kids would reel something in, Big Ed would loudly say: 

 "Sometimes it's Chickens, Sometimes it's Feathers"  

what chickens an feathers has to do with fishing I have yet to know!  What I do know is every time he would say it, my kids would bust up laughing.  

Moms (and Dads) Splurge for a fishing guide, it is well worth it, and when you are in Lake of the Ozarks call up Big Ed.  Tell him we said Hi and  "Sometimes it's Chickens, Sometimes it's Feathers"   

Here is a video of my kids on the lake with Big Ed:

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(Disclosure:  all of part of my visit mentioned in this post was sponsored, however my thoughts cannot be bought, all opinions are my own.) 

Thursday, August 4, 2022

Texas Tachometer over Missouri Grapes

I guess Missourians have an accent you will never forget, especially if you are flying a plane and the tachometer goes out somewhere over Cape Girardeau, Missouri. 

While touring Cross Timbers Winery in Grapevine, Texas I met the “Texas Wine Man” and while discussing
  winemaking and the wine industry he interrupted me to ask me where I was from.  

Not that my accent is that strong, but it apparently stuck out to him.

Instead of saying “Marble Hill, Missouri” because that is hard to explain, I said two hours south of St Louis, Missouri.  Which he replied “oh I know Cape Girardeau well, I was flying to Ste. Genevieve to look at some wine grapes and my tachometer went out right over Cape Girardeau.   It was a bit of a ride until I got landed.”   

He insisted my friend Megy and I pose for a picture since we were from the “North”…from there it was all wine history.  

Grapevine is home to the Urban Wine Trail in Texas, as well as the Texas Wine and Grape Growers Association and GrapeFest, the largest wine festival in the Southwest, held annually in September. Texas is the fifth-largest wine-producing state in the U.S., and Grapevine has served as a trendsetter and leader with award-winning wineries and winemakers.

As of 2018 State of Texas was home to 470 wineries (Missouri had 160, California had 4763).  There is approximately 4,280,400 gallons of wine produced a year across the state of Texas bringing in an approximate revenue of 13.1 billion dollars. 

This much wine takes a lot of grapes.  California has the most acres growing grapes accounting for just over four-fifths of the nation's total acreage dedicated to the crop.  California is responsible for over 82% of acres of the crop in the country with approximately 864,831 acres planted in vineyards.  

Washington comes in a distant second with 6% of the nations total with 67,180 acres.  Missouri has 1,367 acres and Illinois has 959 acres planted in vineyards.  Alaska is the only state that does not produce grapes. 

In 2018, the U.S. wine market marked its 25th consecutive year of growth, reaching 348.8 million 9-liter cases.  However, Wine and Beverage experts believe the growth in this industry may slow down, due to aging Baby Boomers drinking less wine and Millennials have not adapted to wine as much as expected.   

A broken tachometer, Missouri grapes, and an unique accent can lead to a new education.  

Read More About Grapevine Texas Here:

Disclosure:  The Grapevine Texas CVB sponsored my trip to Grapevine Texas and a big thank you to them for giving me the opportunity to visit, however, all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Saturday, July 30, 2022

Klepzig Mill, Missouri

Klepzig Mill sits along Rocky Creek east of Eminence and Winona.  An article on the National Park Service website says, “Klepzig Mill is not much to look at with its various accouterments and modifications-- cement spillway, scrap metal hinge from the hood of a Model "A" Ford truck, old corrugated iron roof.” 

Which I disagree, these styles of mills are the history of our area and much of Ozarks.   They were small family operations that kept the areas alive and provided the lumber to build barns, homes, stores, churches, and schools.  

The timber industry was rich in Missouri and ran north to south and east to west.  Every family had a timber man and often a timber woman.  

I stumbled on Klepzig Mill one time after making a wrong turn.  I felt I had been deprived as this mill could be recognized more, it could be better marked, and be as popular as Bollinger Mill or Alley Springs - after once you go and see it’s surroundings, you will go back for just that.  

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Saturday, July 23, 2022

Alto Pass on a Whim

I saw the Havisham House online and knew that I wanted to stay there.   I normally plan my vacations around an attraction or sites to see, but never a house.  This time was different.  

This home was originally completed in 1892 but has completely been restored and modernized without losing the historic beauty.

When we pulled up to the home, Trey was in a little bit of awe, I giggled and said “it was less than the Peabody, so…”

While unloading my bags, I jokingly snapped a picture to my friend of the bathroom and said “this is why I spent so much money on this weekend” - seriously the bathroom was that gorgeous.  

This is not a place that you just go to sleep, it is a place that you go to stay.  I didn’t want to leave, I wandered through the home looking at all the books, staring at all the windows, soaked in the giant bathtub for hours, dreamed of having a large dinner party in the formal dining room, and binged watched some ridiculous series on Netflix while enjoying popcorn.   

I secretly started planning my next trip back, before I made it past the kitchen.  

The Havisham House is perfectly located in the middle of Alto Pass, or maybe the town was built around it.  Alto Pass is not a giant town, I think I saw a sign for population 400, but it is a town of great value as far as things to do and places to go.  

Located just minutes from the Bald Knob Cross, you can drive to the lookout and see a great view of the cross overlooking the town.  Such a peaceful spot regardless of what your faith is.  I do encourage you to visit the Bald Knob Cross, read the story of overcoming obstacles and building something that millions drive to see.   Impressive story of faith, hope, and love. 

Also located close by is Rendleman’s Orchard.  If you have followed me long, you know I am a huge fan of flower patches, so I did a little comparison shopping.  Rendleman’s Orchard is fantastically laid out, well designed, and a perfect family stop.

I recommend going during the cooler part of the day as the gardens are in full sun.  I personally walked out with a bucket of peaches, a peach smoothie, pickled okra, and a few packages of spices that I can later cook with.   

Alto Clay Works is located just blocks away from the home.   I loved this place.  I suggest going for the pottery, but the story of the building is pretty cool also.  Alto Clay Works is located in the Alto Pass Grade School building.  I am a sucker for old school buildings being repurposed into something unique.  I also will not claim to be an expert on pottery but enjoyed my visit with the owner.  He was not only passionate about his work, but his community.  He shared a list of places to visit, some history of the community, and made us feel like we were not just customers, but more like friends.   

The Shawnee Hills Wine Trail runs through Alto Pass, Illinois - giving the area that Napa Valley feeling with a bit of country accent.  We stopped for lunch at Von Jakob Winery & Brewery.  It was a delightful place with a nice patio view of the vineyard.   The menu had a great selection and was affordable for nice dining.  

The Shawnee Hills Wine Trail is composed of eleven wineries on a well-marked 40-mile trail.  Each winery offers their own individual style and winemaking techniques that make your visit an adventure through the hills of southern Illinois.

More photos from my visit to Alto Pass, Illinois available here:

(Disclosure: I was not paid or comped for my opinion or review of these locations. All thoughts and photos are my own.)

Friday, July 9, 2021

National Corvette Museum, Bowling Green Kentucky

 Vacation is about making Dreams Come True!  D had spotted the National Corvette Museum on Tik Tok 🤷🏻‍♀️, this was all he has talked about for weeks, so we made a trip, he test drove (did the simulator), and drooled over the cars.  This is the life of being a “boy mom”......🏎💙

The National Corvette Museum is a must for car lovers of all ages!  It is well designed, gives the full history of corvettes, corvette racing, and the great sinkhole that happened at the museum.
The simulator is every little boy’s dream!  Driving a fast car like the pros.  

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

GaGa & Grandpa Dillard. ❤️

Every year the week before Memorial Day Weekend, I take my kiddos to the graveyard to spruce up my Grandparent’s and Aunt Lois’ grave.  I pray that this tradition will become just as important to them as it is to me.   Remembering our ancestors and heritage is just as important as planning for our future.  

We miss them, but heaven is better than earth.  🌸❤️

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Most Patriotic Small town in Southeast Missouri

WE WIN!  I declare it!  Most Patriotic Small town in Southeast Missouri - Maybe even in Missouri.  ❤️🤍💙

The Bollinger County Courthouse LOOKS AMAZING!  If you did not see it tonight, go see it this weekend, I believe that the wreath will be placed Friday at the memorial.  Thank you to those who decorated at the courthouse! 

Bunting was waving tonight over Crooked Creek!  Flags are up at Twin City Park and Railroad Park.  

Not featured in this post is EC Reed's Mercantile and Hotel- Marble Hill, Missouri, but hop to their page and see their cute display! 

Flags will go up this weekend at Bollinger County Memorial Park Cemetery, YOU ABSOLUTELY MUST GO SEE THEM!   (Also no photo shown, will feature later this week)

Lots of photo opportunities!  Come see us in Bollinger County, Missouri.